Council officials used emergency powers to close a Middlesbrough takeaway after finding evidence of a mouse infestation.
The owner of Sicilianos Pizzeria in Berwick Hills has now been fined after breaching food hygiene rules.
During a routine food hygiene inspection of the Rothbury Road business, Environmental Health Officers found evidence of a widespread mouse infestation together with poor standards of cleanliness.
They used emergency powers to close the takeaway and the premises remained shut for 17 days following the inspection on December 10 last year.
Middlesbrough Council’s environmental health manager Judith Hedgley said: “The unhygienic conditions in this food business presented an imminent risk of injury to health that required the service of a Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice to shut the premises to protect public health.
“The business was not given permission to re-open until we were satisfied that the mouse infestation had been eradicated and the premises sanitised.”
Business operator Kaid Altalekany was charged under the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 with failing to ensure he had adequate procedures in place to control pests and failing to keep his premises and food equipment clean and disinfected.
Appearing before Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday, the 45-year-old pleaded guilty to all charges.
He was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £575 towards the council’s costs, plus a £100 victim surcharge.
Councillor Julia Rostron, the council’s executive member for public health, said: “The evidence shown in this case highlighted clear and serious breaches of food laws.”